Is othello a racist play?

Essay by playboy_69A, July 2004

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Othello - A Racist Play?

Although there are lots of things to suggest this is a racist

play I don't think that racism actually dominates the play, even

though it has a racist theme. There is a romantic union between black

and white which gets destroyed because most people think the

relationship is wrong. At the time the play was written, 1604, even

the Queen of England was racist so there must have been a strong

hatred of blacks around that time.

Most racist comments in the play are said by people that are

angry or upset. For example, when Emilia found out that Othello

had killed Desdemona she was extremely mad and she called Othello a

"Blacker devil", this was the only time in the play that she had said

anything racist about Othello. The main characters that have racist

attitudes are Iago, Brabantio, Roderigo and Emilia, with the hatred of

Othello as the basis for their racist actions and comments towards

him. Iago is the most racist character in the book as he has it in for

Othello right from the start. What sparks off Iago's hate towards him

is the fact that when Othello chose his lieutenant , it was Cassio who

was chosen instead of Iago. What made Iago angry was the fact that

Cassio had no experience in war when he did and Cassio was chosen

instead of him. Iago does not say anything racist to Othello's face

but he has a lot to say against him behind his back. He schemes to

destroy Othello and anything in his way including Cassio and

Desdemona. The first time we hear one of his racist comments is when

he's talking to Brabantio about Othello and Desdemona,

"Even now, very now, an...